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The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 11/02/2020

The Power of Story, Part 3 show art The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily wraps up the third episode on "the power of stories" with a chat with an executive from Scholastic, Inc.--the source of all those books sold to grade-school students from newsletters and book fairs. Their conversation took place just before World Read-Aloud Day, which framed their talk about grandparents reading aloud to their grands. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay): The Genetics of Reading   When I visited the home of my maternal grandparents, I don’t remember seeing a book in any room of the house. It was a stark contrast to our own house with books in each room and a...

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The Power of Story, Part 2 show art The Power of Story, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing the theme from last episode, Emily speaks with a 93-year-old grandfather, author, and active advocate of capturing and then "unleashing" grandparent stories. His creative partner in their website adds helpful details about a program that helps grands become powerful and prolific story-makers. SHOW NOTES Jerry and Deanna's website is grandparentsunleashed.com, and  Jerry's book is The Grandest Love, available .

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The Power of Story, Part 1 show art The Power of Story, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

How well do your grands know your story? Emily travels (virtually) to Trinidad to speak with Felicia Chang, a professional in the area of capturing the personal stories of our families, with a special emphasis our elders. Your story has worth and power...and is of priceless value to your grands. EPISODE NOTES Felicia Chang's TEDx Talk about how the stories of our loved ones connect us all is . Her business has a and a . This is Felicia with her dear grandmother, the subject of her movie and the inspiration of her view on capturing stories.

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing last episode's theme, this time Emily talks with a grandparent in the US and a parent in France whose extended relationships span oceans, languages, and cultures. Adventure seasoned with selflessness is the recipe. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)   “We’re moving to Brussels.” Those words shocked me even though I was twenty-one, living in my own apartment and working on my graduate degree. My parents called from NH to inform me that my dad had taken a job in Belgium. “Where is that?” was my immediate reply. (I was in grad school for English Lit, and obviously...

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Back in Season 2, we did an episode on Long-Distance Grandparenting which proved to be a popular subject. When the distances are really long--international--you'd think it would be harder. The pandemic has made distance less of a factor that it once was, so experienced global grandparents can teach lessons almost all of us can apply. EPISODE SHOW NOTES Learn more about Emily's guest, author Helen Ellis, at https://www.distancefamilies.com. Her book will be out in April, 2021. 

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Grandparent Educators, Part 2 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Some grandparents have the time, talent, and access to become directly involved with their grands' education. Emily talks with two grandparents and a teacher who have done or seen this firsthand, which may give you ideas on how to approach this in your extended family. SHOW NOTE Learn more about Emily's third guest, Sandra Williams, from her and her book, .  

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Grandparent Educators, Part 1 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Grandparents can play a range of roles in their grands' education. In Part 1 on this topic, Emily talks with a retired teacher whose journey through racial segregation in the 1950s shaped her commitment to supporting the schooling of her descendants. Emily's essay is a revealing self-portrait of a third grader, a pen pal, and a missed opportunity Emily's guest Kaaren Rodman provides details on her family's scholarship: "Our family has set up a scholarship that is awarded through the Indianapolis Urban League. Mike and I did smaller grants for several years in the 90's, one for each set of...

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Grandparent Love, Part 2 show art Grandparent Love, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

The centerpiece of this episode is Emily's interview with best-selling author Barbara Graham, who has written about the collected experiences of gifted and famous grandmothers. There are lessons to be learned from her work... and from Emily's essay about loving our grands well with the time we find. Learn more about Emily's guest and her work at .    The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time (Emily's Essay)   If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their...

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Grandparent Love, Part 1 show art Grandparent Love, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

To begin Season 4, Emily talks with two members of her network on how to put our love for our grands into action--with purpose, and intentionality, and clever ideas.  The payoff is a richer relationship, even when it's largely a long-distance one. To learn more about our two guests visit and .         

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Spotlight on Emily show art Spotlight on Emily

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

While we take a break between seasons of The Grand Life Podcast, we're inviting host Emily Morgan to the guest's chair for a change. With husband and producer Mike, she covers choosing content, finding guests, and balancing the living of The Grand Life with her podcasting about it.

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More Episodes

What are we to do when we are blocked from having a relationship with our grands by their parents--our own children? Emily explores this hard topic with a social researcher and author, an estranged grandparent who helps others manage, and a Millennial dad who shut down his relationship with his mother for the good of his family.

RESOURCES

Alienated Grandparents Anonymous, a resource for support groups and related insights mentioned by Dr. Pat Hanson (2nd guest)

Books mentioned or written by this episode’s guests:

I Thought I was the Only One: Grandparent Alienation: A Global Epidemic by Amanda

When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Children Don’t Get Along by Dr. Joshua Coleman

Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not by Dr. Pat Hanson (2nd guest)

Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them by Dr. Karl Pillemer (3rd guest)

THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)

I’m sure you’re not new to the term “Cancel Culture.” It seems to have hit us hard during these long, sequestered days of COVID.  According to Wikipedia, the term cancel culture is defined as “the practice of withdrawing support for (or canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.”  

But doesn’t it seem like more? We speak of “cancelling” the people we are in relationship with when something is said or done that we consider objectionable or offensive. At lunch with a friend recently, I nodded in agreement when she said of a recent Facebook breakup, “I would never say the things I say on Facebook if I was talking to her face to face.” It’s true. We are much more likely to unfriend people on social media, if they don’t agree with us, than if they were standing in front of us. Sadly, unfriending people is becoming all too common. There’s an attitude of “I’m done with you,” that seems both pervasive and hurtful. And often leads to great regret. 

My guest Dr. Pillemer, in his book Fault Lines, says that one of the major barriers to reconnection is the urge to align two different views of the past...to reach a common understanding of what has happened. If you can’t come to agreement with an estranged family member about the past, the odds of having a present or future together are pretty low.

While his book is about fractured families with difficult pasts, I’m talking about the present culture, and I see so many of us willing to forgo friendships because we can’t align our points of view over what’s happening in our country. So, as Dr. Pillemer also points out, in order to reconcile, we first have to accept that our points of view might never align.

That is hard to do. That is a stretch... a painful one. But the reality is, we do not have to believe the same thing to be friends. We might not even have any shared values but instead a very long shared past. We might just have to agree to disagree, like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson or Justice Scalia and Ginsburg.  We might even have to set boundaries where we agree not to talk about what we disagree about. But the point is, should we throw away a relationship because we cannot agree on something we hold dear but the other does not? Is it possible for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the other and see something for a moment from their point of view?

I know this is tender for many of us. We are hurting and hoping that somehow or another we will experience a peaceful world -- not one that is constantly plunging us into conflict. But I would suggest that the same things that work to reconcile a fractured family can help to heal a fractured world. Things like civility, respect, mercy, forgiveness...not just from or for the people we agree with, but from and for the ones we don’t. 

One passage from the book  Fault Lines sums up how I feel about any kind of reconciliation. This quote is referring to a severed relationship that eventually was made whole. Quote: “It may take many years, but a point was reached when the past mattered less than the present and future did.”  

We are grandparents. We have a past, which for many of us was the biggest and busiest part of our life story. As parents we had the authority and the power to lead and nurture our families in the direction we chose. But we cannot live in our past. We need to make the present and the future the most important thing, for our children and our children’s children. If that isn’t good reason to flex and stretch,  then I’m not sure what is. 

© 2020 Emily Morgan